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Business Articles

Business Articles

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TV1
  • Avoid Wasting Time & Money at Tradeshows - Before Arriving!

    Most companies find tradeshows to be less effective than they’d like and more costly than preferred. This doesn’t have to be the case. When the economy is good, businesses can get by doing what they’ve always done and still come out reasonably well. Times have changed. Change the way you market at tradeshows, before you arrive, in order to be cost effective and get the biggest return on your investment.


    Get Ready

    Plan your marketing approach far in advance of the show. If you attend every year, start planning for next year shortly at the end of the current show. If your industry has an annual tradeshow, try changing your approach each year. Remember, your competitors will be there too; keep them guessing.

    Another way of gaining attention is to pursue speaking opportunities for the next show. By researching a topic in depth and speaking about it, you’ll learn more and be seen as an expert. Start by proposing a topic you know a lot about that is of interest to the industry. Then dig deeper with research to enhance your presentation.

    Follow a pre-plan that includes a list of people and companies you want to meet. If possible, schedule individual meeting times in advance of the show. Also, make a list of booths you want to visit, including competitors’ booths. Decide in advance the reason you’re going to specific booths in order to avoid being sidetracked by all the exciting show distractions and giveaways.

    Two to three weeks prior to the show, prepare an announcement to all attendees regarding your intent to exhibit. Find a creative way in that announcement to get people to visit your booth. Even if your customers are not attending the show, let them know you will be – this adds credibility. By all means, blog often about show plans.


    Advice from the Floor

    If you have a new product to display, take advantage of any opportunity to get it placed in the new products area of the show. Many companies target their annual tradeshow attendance to coincide with new product launches. After all, most buyers make a point of going through the new products area even if they don’t have time to visit every company’s booth.

    Everyone knows or suspects that when they step away from the booth an important visitor arrives. Make sure the people you take to assist are well versed about your products and your company, are trained to talk about the value you offer, present themselves well, and do more than gather business cards and swipe name tags. Remember, when you are not at your booth, the person you have there is the face of your company.

    When information for next year’s show becomes available, read it thoroughly, paying particular attention to opportunities for gaining attention outside of your booth. Many companies end up paying more or missing out on valuable events and advertising that they don’t know exist. Reserve your booth early to get the best space. Some tradeshows give priority spaces to those who’ve attended the previous year. Last minute decisions about attending do not give sufficient time to plan for participation.

    Finally, if you’re short on staff, do not have the time for pre-show marketing, or need more guidance, outsource pre-show marketing to a competent marketing consulting and implementation company.


    By:      Bonnie Griffin Kaake, President

    Innovative Consulting Group, Inc.